Rendezvous with an Asteroid

Posted on September 9th, 2017 by Ziipa

Posted by: https://raspberrypikid.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/rendezvous-with-an-asteroid/

Over the past year or so, I’ve had an incredible experience thanks to a friend, Mike Paul Hughes.  Mike was an engineer for Lockheed Martin outside of Denver, Colorado.  He has recently moved to Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.  When I met Mike, he was working on a project called Osiris-Rex.  This is a spacecraft that will be visiting an asteroid, collecting samples, and bringing them back to Earth.

One time, I mentioned to Mike that it would be really cool to go tour his lab.  He said that if I could make it to Colorado, he could show me around.  My parents figured out a way to get us there and last October, we flew to Colorado.  Next thing I knew, I was gearing up for a clean room and standing next to a spacecraft!

osirisrex

That’s Osiris in the back, Mike Hughes on the right, and my mom and dad on either side of me.

Fast forward to September, 2016.  Mike invited us out to Florida to see the launch!  Once before, I flew to Florida to see a space shuttle launch, but Hurricane Ernesto put an end to that.  I was going to get to see a launch!  At Cape Canaveral, launches happen on one side of a river and I was sitting on the other side, about as close as you can get without working for NASA.  The launch was beautiful!  It was much brighter than I had expected.  The picture below doesn’t do it justice.

osirisrexlaunch

While I was at Kennedy Space Center, look who I met.

osirisbill

In the year 2023, Osiris-Rex will return with the samples and parachute down safely in the Utah desert.  So far the mission is going perfectly and I hope that it stays that way until the end.  Many thanks to Mike Paul Hughes, pictured below, for making all of this happen.  I hope to work for you some day after I complete my degrees.  Mike has a great story about persistence and grit if you ever get to see him speak on a local college campus.  I’d very highly recommend it.  He’s also a very talented musician.  Is there anything he cannot do?

 

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How to ask for (and receive) technical help on the internet

Posted on September 8th, 2017 by Ziipa

Posted by: http://raspi.tv/2017/how-to-ask-for-and-receive-technical-help-on-the-internet

The internet is a great place to find out how to do things. You can often find a ‘recipe’ for precisely what you want to do or a how-to article to solve your exact problem. But even if you can’t, whatever problem you’re having, the internet is chock-full of people with knowledge who will most […more…]

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Code Club reaches 1 in 5 UK secondary schools

Posted on September 7th, 2017 by Ziipa

Posted by: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-club-9-to-13/

Today, we’re excited to announce the expansion of Code Club to secondary school ages up to 13. When we made our plans known last May, we were beginning work with a pilot group of 50 UK secondary schools to discover how we could best support them, and how we could make Code Club work as well for children aged 12 and 13 as it does for those in its original age range of 9 to 11. Now, new projects are available for secondary-aged children, and we will continue to create more resources to build on the support we offer this age group.

An animated gif with happy Code Club robots and text showing that Code Club is extending to 9- to 13-year-olds

One in five UK secondary schools

In extending Code Club’s age range to 9-13, we’re responding to huge demand. One in five UK state-sector secondary schools has already registered with the programme, and most of these — almost 600 of them — are already running Code Clubs.

By giving secondaries access to the Code Club support network, and by providing new, more advanced programming projects, we will help schools better to meet the needs of their students; together, we can offer many thousands more children the opportunity to develop essential skills in programming and computing. Libraries and other non-school venues will also be able to welcome children of a wider range of ages to their clubs.

New Code Club resources

Our first five projects for older children offer a variety of ways for more advanced coders to build on their skills and explore further programming concepts.

From ‘Flappy Parrot’ and Where’s Wally-inspired ‘Lineup’, to ‘Binary Hero’ and quiz-tastic ‘Guess the Flag’, there’s something to spark everyone’s imagination. You can read more about these new resources in today’s Code Club UK blog post.

Help Code Club in your local school

Around 300 secondary schools across the UK have registered with Code Club but have not yet started their club, because they’re still looking for volunteers to support them. Can you help these keen teachers and students get up and running? If you can volunteer an hour each week, either on your own or taking turns with friends or colleagues, you could make all the difference to a Code Club near you.

A Code Club in every community

We want every young person between the ages of 9 and 13 to have the opportunity to join a Code Club, and we will continue working hard to deliver our goal of putting a Code Club in every community. Make sure your local school, youth club, or library knows how to get involved.

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IKEA Arcade Table Based On a Raspberry Pi Running RetroPie

Posted on September 6th, 2017 by Ziipa

Posted by: https://www.raspberrypi-spy.co.uk/2017/09/ikea-arcade-table-based-on-a-raspberry-pi-running-retropie/

I’ve always wanted an arcade machine. I had admired Spanner Spencer’s PIK3A project and those that followed it but I didn’t think I had the time to create anything as interesting. Then fate decided to give me a helping hand. A number of years ago we owned an IKEA kids “Gulliver” table which we eventually gave to a friend when our son out-grew it. Her kids got older and no longer needed it so I got it back.

It was just the right size to make a table style retro games machine based on the Raspberry Pi. It had a solid MDF top and would be perfect for modifying. All it would take is a bit of cutting and drilling. Plus a few bits and pieces to attach to the underside. The thing I wasn’t sure about was where to put it when finished but that was a problem I would worry about later on.

Here is how it turned out :

IKEA Retrogaming Table using Raspberry Pi

Underneath the table is a Raspberry Pi 3 running the RetroPie image. It provides emulators for all the common games console systems I was interested in. This included the Super Nintendo, Megadrive, Gameboy, Neo Geo and MAME systems.

I decided to make the table two player and give each player 8 buttons. Most games don’t need this many but I thought it was better to build it with 8 than regret it latter. There are 4 buttons on the front edge which act as Select/Start or Start/Coin depending on the emulator in use. Two of these buttons have 1/2 player symbols on them which my wife kindly suggested were similar to the signs on public toilet doors.

IKEA Retrogaming Table using Raspberry Pi

The monitor is an older DELL E177 17″ display which I found secondhand on Facebook Marketplace. It cost £5, was the ideal size and it was really easy to remove the case and bezel. The 4:3 aspect ratio was perfect as that is closer to the ratio of most of the games I intended to play on it. It has a VGA interface but works fine with a cheap HDMI-to-VGA adapter.

IKEA Retrogaming Table using Raspberry Pi

Using LibreOffice I designed a graphic to place on the table before covering in a thin layer of clear plastic. I struggled to find a cheap source of perspex so settled for the plastic from a cheap IKEA “FISKBO” picture frame.

The finishing touch was a set of remote controlled multi-colour LED lights to give the whole underside a nice glow. The colour can be changed or a number of light sequences can be activated. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” obviously looks better with a green glow whereas “Joust” calls for yellow.

IKEA Arcade Table - Turtles in Time

Overall I’m very pleased with how this project turned out. Some games are simply more fun to play with a joystick and buttons to hit. In my household popular games include Metal Slug, Robocop, Galaga, TMNT, Joust and Final Fight. Despite having RetroPie available on my TV with USB controllers the arcade table is far more popular.

IKEA Arcade Table - Metal Slug

In a future post I’ll go through the build in more detail and provide photos of the underside and its various components.

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A printing GIF camera? Is that even a thing?

Posted on September 6th, 2017 by Ziipa

Posted by: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/printing-gif-camera/

Abhishek Singh’s printing GIF camera uses two Raspberry Pis, the Model 3 and the Zero W, to take animated images and display them on an ejectable secondary screen.

Instagif – A DIY Camera that prints GIFs instantly

I built a camera that snaps a GIF and ejects a little cartridge so you can hold a moving photo in your hand! I’m calling it the “Instagif NextStep”.

The humble GIF

Created in 1987, Graphics Interchange Format files, better known as GIFs, have somewhat taken over the internet. And whether you pronounce it G-IF or J-IF, you’ve probably used at least one to express an emotion, animate images on your screen, or create small, movie-like memories of events.

In 2004, all patents on the humble GIF expired, which added to the increased usage of the file format. And by the early 2010s, sites such as giphy.com and phone-based GIF keyboards were introduced into our day-to-day lives.

A GIF from a scene in The Great Gatsby - Raspberry Pi GIF Camera

Welcome to the age of the GIF

Polaroid cameras

Polaroid cameras have a somewhat older history. While the first documented instant camera came into existence in 1923, commercial iterations made their way to market in the 1940s, with Polaroid’s model 95 Land Camera.

In recent years, the instant camera has come back into fashion, with camera stores and high street fashion retailers alike stocking their shelves with pastel-coloured, affordable models. But nothing beats the iconic look of the Polaroid Spirit series, and the rainbow colour stripe that separates it from its competitors.

Polaroid Spirit Camera - Raspberry Pi GIF Camera

Shake it like a Polaroid picture…

And if you’re one of our younger readers and find yourself wondering where else you’ve seen those stripes, you’re probably more familiar with previous versions of the Instagram logo, because, well…

Instagram Logo - Raspberry Pi GIF Camera

I’m sorry for the comment on the previous image. It was just too easy.

Abhishek Singh’s printing GIF camera

Abhishek labels his creation the Instagif NextStep, and cites his inspiration for the project as simply wanting to give it a go, and to see if he could hold a ‘moving photo’.

“What I love about these kinds of projects is that they involve a bunch of different skill sets and disciplines”, he explains at the start of his lengthy, highly GIFed and wonderfully detailed imugr tutorial. “Hardware, software, 3D modeling, 3D printing, circuit design, mechanical/electrical engineering, design, fabrication etc. that need to be integrated for it to work seamlessly. Ironically, this is also what I hate about these kinds of projects”

Care to see how the whole thing comes together? Well, in the true spirit of the project, Abhishek created this handy step-by-step GIF.

Piecing it together

I thought I’ll start off with the entire assembly and then break down the different elements. As you can see, everything is assembled from the base up in layers helping in easy assembly and quick disassembly for troubleshooting

The build comes in two parts – the main camera housing a Raspberry Pi 3 and Camera Module V2, and the ejectable cartridge fitted with Raspberry Pi Zero W and Adafruit PiTFT screen.

When the capture button is pressed, the camera takes 3 seconds’ worth of images and converts them into .gif format via a Python script. Once compressed and complete, the Pi 3 sends the file to the Zero W via a network connection. When it is satisfied that the Zero W has the image, the Pi 3 automatically ejects the ‘printed GIF’ cartridge, and the image is displayed.

A demonstration of how the GIF is displayed on the Raspberry Pi GIF Camera

For a full breakdown of code, 3D-printable files, and images, check out the full imgur post. You can see more of Abhishek’s work at his website here.

Create GIFs with a Raspberry Pi

Want to create GIFs with your Raspberry Pi? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? So check out our free time-lapse animations resource. As with all our learning resources, the project is free for you to use at home and in your clubs or classrooms. And once you’ve mastered the art of Pi-based GIF creation, why not incorporate it into another project? Say, a motion-detecting security camera or an on-the-go tweeting GIF camera – the possibilities are endless.

And make sure you check out Abhishek’s other Raspberry Pi GIF project, Peeqo, who we covered previously in the blog. So cute. SO CUTE.

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